Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Reading this horoscope could not only stimulate waves of pleasurable endorphins in your brain, it may also fine-tune your immune system, increase your calorie-burning power, promote relaxation of the smooth muscles of the digestive tract, enlarge any part of your body you want to enlarge, and cut down the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and delusions about romance. To activate the potential health benefits contained herein, all you have to do is love everyone and everything with more compassionate ingenuity and playful zeal than you ever have before.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Writing in the *San Francisco Chronicle,* columnist Jon Carroll told the story of educational activist Diane Mintz. When she began tutoring elementary school kids in the Bay Area's poorest neighborhoods, she was shocked to realize how thoroughly poverty had shrunken their horizons. Many had never glimpsed the Golden Gate Bridge, a wonder of the world that's a few miles from their homes. Some didn't even know this marvel existed. "Their mental map of their larger community was pinched and drab," wrote Carroll. On occasion, those of us who aren't so destitute suffer from a similar diminishment. For example, I suspect that many of you Tauruses are in danger of letting your vistas dwindle right now. As a pre-emptive antidote, I suggest you make pilgrimages to beautiful people and intriguing sights and exhilarating places that blow your mind in the best ways.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Ocean Dome is a huge indoor beach and water park on an island in Japan. Fabricated to create the ideal seaside conditions, it features artificial white sand and machine-generated waves that are high enough to surf. Air and water temperatures never waver from a comfortable range. There's an amusing irony about the place, though: Less than 1,000 feet away from its metal facade, there's an actual ocean and beach. Does this remind you of any situation in your own life, Gemini? It should. In my opinion, you'd get more enjoyment out of the real thing than the synthetic substitute.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Thanks for being one of the 9.4 million readers who are making 2006 another record-breaking year for Free Will Astrology. The number of people turning to this column for guidance and amusement continues to climb. My Google ranking among astrology sites on the Web is holding steady at sixth in the world. Recently I also received the coveted Nostradamus Lifetime Achievement Award for Prophecy and Divination. Should I therefore ask for more money from everyone who publishes my column? I've decided against that because–surprise!–I'm quite happy with how everything's going. You, on the other hand, should think about raising your rates. Those of us who are born under the sign of Cancer the Crab are in a phase when it makes sense to acknowledge our accomplishments and make sure we're being compensated properly for them.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "Sometimes it's not how good you are but how bad you want it," read the t-shirt of a guy buying a lottery ticket at the convenience store. While I don't think he was making the best use of that philosophy–playing a game of chance heavily weighted against his success–I do think it's a principle worth meditating on, especially for you right now, Leo. Your skill and understanding are certainly not irrelevant as you push to the next level of your quest, but they are less important than the intensity of your longing.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "If you are going through hell, keep going," said Winston Churchill. Let that advice be your inspiration in the coming week, Virgo. But wait: Before you jump to conclusions about what I'm saying, know this: Your tests and trials will be far, far less hellish than the ordeals Churchill faced as he led England through World War II. It's true that you may feel a bit tortured in the heat of the moment, though. So don't you dare slow down to feel sorry for yourself or scream at the chaos-makers. Keep plodding forward, secure in my assurance that you'll cross the border and exit out of the infernal regions well before you're exhausted.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Elizabeth Bishop was determined to let each of her poems fully ripen before she published it. Rather than give her gifts to the world prematurely, she was willing to wait decades to make sure she had truly captured their diamond essence. I hope you're prepared to be as patient, Libra. You've been gestating a valuable labor of love, and it deserves to be blessed with the lavish totality of your careful attention before being unleashed.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The Colorado state legislature tried to pass a law requiring public schools to put wholesome food in their vending machines. But the governor vetoed the bill, declaring that schools need the revenue from nutrient-free chips, sodas, and candy bars to finance their sports programs. Besides, he said, kids would much rather snack on junk food than the healthful fare. If you're faced with a similar choice this week–whether to do what's good for you or else indulge your vices and seek out meaningless experiences that provide no fulfillment–please go for the former option. The astrological omens suggest that this is a turning point, for better or worse, in your relationship with your bad habits.

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